‘Frozen’ arrives on ice

With her father and brothers playing hockey and her mother an instructor, the decision to start skating came naturally to a 2-year-old Emma Astrup. Soon, she discovered the most desirable aspect of moving along a sheet of ice on a hollowed-out blade of steel less than an inch wide was the creativity available during her routines.

“Early on, I thought it was cool because not a lot of my friends did it,” she said during a phone interview from a tour stop in Moline, Ill. “It’s a sport that you can continue to learn at your own pace. It has a lot of different skills — flexibility, strength, cardio plus grace and an artistic side.

“When I was younger I didn’t know if I wanted to pursue dance or skating more but I ended up with this and I’m really glad that I did.”

The Fargo, N.D., native went from ice dancing competitions and a U.S. Figure Skating gold medal in dance, solo dance, free dance and moves in the field, and a Canadian gold medal in dance to her current career as a member of Disney On Ice’s “Frozen,” which comes to the Covelli Centre today through Sunday.

Over the past year, the 2017 high school graduate has skated in the production throughout North America. During that time, Astrup learned life lessons that she would not have received if she immediately enrolled in college and developed other elements to her artistic abilities.

“There’s a lot more acting that goes into it. That’s what makes it fun. You do make it your own and use your creativity. And you need to keep that good technique to perform it in the show that you learned as a competitive skater.”

She added, “It’s super cool to see the crowd and how different they can be and how interactive they can be. When you go out on the ice and perform, yes it’s the same thing we do at so many shows but the people are different. So, you stop and you’re right next to someone and you smile and wave and it’s a little greeting.”

“Frozen” features the complete adventure from the Academy Award-winning animated film of the same name. It’s the story of Anna, a young woman who goes on a journey to find her sister, Elsa, who wants to be secluded and test the limits of her magical powers.

Anna is helped by mountain man Kristoff, his loyal reindeer Sven, the lovable snowman Olaf and the mystical trolls. The movie — and the ice show — includes such songs as “Let it Go,” “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” and “Fixer Upper.”

The immersive set design encompasses the space from the ice surface through the air to mimic the trek up the North Mountains while state-of-the art special effects will reflect Elsa’s supernatural skills.

Also on hand for this celebration of sisterhood are such characters as Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse and special appearances by Disney princesses and favorite characters from Disney / Pixar’s “Toy Story” and “Finding Nemo” and Disney’s “The Lion King.”

“It’s such a special film with the love story of two sisters. I think everyone who watched the movie finds it so powerful because it has that different aspect to it. Bringing it to ice just makes sense. It’s so cool that we can make that happen,” Astrup said.

“We try to portray it as similar as we can to the movie, so you just escape. This is one Disney show that you escape into the story because all the other Disney On Ice productions they are different segments of princesses, but this is our main story.”